Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, stated that the company is considering the idea of leaving the US market if the regulatory environment for the sector does not become more clear. Following the old U.K. At Fintech Week in London, when Chancellor George Osbourne questioned Armstrong about the possibility of Coinbase leaving the United States, he responded, “Anything is on the table, including relocating or whatever is necessary.”
He went on to say, “I think the U.S. has the potential to be an important market for crypto, but right now we are not seeing that regulatory clarity that we need.” Furthermore, the CEO stated that if regulatory clarity does not emerge in the coming years, they may have to consider investing more elsewhere in the world.
Crypto Exchange Platforms to Leave US Market
Armstrong’s comments come weeks after Coinbase rival Bittrex announced it would leave the US market by the end of April due to “the current U.S. regulatory and economic environment.” It’s important to note that Bittrex recently received a Well Notice last March and the SEC has already filed a lawsuit against the exchange on Monday.
The CEO of Coinbase also compared the situation in the UK to that in the US, noting that while the UK has just one regulator—the Financial Conduct Authority, which oversees both commodities and securities—the US has two distinct agencies, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Armstrong Spots Inconsistencies
Armstrong emphasized that the CFTC and the SEC are not engaged in a turf war in the UK. Additionally, he noted that they frequently receive inconsistent statements from the leaders of the CFTC and the SEC.
The CEO then questioned, “How’s a business going to operate in that environment? We just want a clear rulebook.” It’s important to note that Coinbase, like Bittrex, also received a Wells Notice from the SEC in March.
Armstrong defended the cryptocurrency exchange site by saying that before receiving the notice, Coinbase had “30 times” spoken with the SEC without obtaining comments regarding the nature of its company.
The lack of differentiation or nuance in how authorities approach the various branches of the cryptocurrency sector has also been called out by Armstrong. In this case, cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase should be governed similarly to financial services firms.
However, Armstrong believed that because there is no centralized authority to regulate, the dispersed portions of the industry should be handled very differently. According to him, “Things like Bitcoin, Ethereum, DeFi, and even self-custodial wallets should be regulated like a software business or something like that.”